JANUARY 2011

 

 

Monday 31 January 2011

Ludlow was abandoned so no ‘Choc related’ racing results to report today; although Ayr did go ahead.

 

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Taunton, where he has 3 riding engagements for Alan King:

14:20 Swansbrook – Novices’ Chase

15:50 Causeway King – Handicap Hurdle

16:50 Who’s Afraid – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race; Wayne Hutchinson rides Alan King’s other runner in this race, Astralogical.

 

Meanwhile at Folkestone, Martin Keighley has 2 runners:

15:10 Saffron Lord (Tom Siddall) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Ukrainian Star (Warren Marston) – Handicap Chase

 

In this week’s Racing Post column, Choc recounts the ‘horrors’ of last week; including a one day suspension awarded at Huntingdon for careless riding.  He misses Wednesday 09 February (Ludlow/Carlisle).  Here is the link to my overview of this week’s column. 

 

Black Apalachi has been ruled out of this year’s Grand National having suffered a tendon injury.

 

And there are a number of interesting runners due to participate in next Saturday’s Challengers’ Novices’ Chase (better known as the Scilly Isles Chase) at Sandown, including Medermit. 

Sunday 30 January 2011

It transpired that the weather was not as cold as expected, with both Hereford and Fakenham inspections being cancelled and racing going ahead.

 

Choc had 3 riding engagements at Fakenham, all for Alan King:

Rustarix finished 5th (last of the finishers) in the Handicap Chase (3 miles and ½ a furlong) (7 ran).

Enfant De Lune finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (2 miles and ½ a furlong) (6 ran).

Dineur finished 3rd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (7 ran).

 

I know Choc doesn’t particularly like riding at Fakenham and, as someone who likes to travel as close to the inside rail as possible, the ‘tight’ nature of the course didn’t appear to help his cause today.

 

Although these aerial maps are often out of date, you will get a good idea of the course layout at Fakenham by zooming in on the area via this link (the racecourse is to the south of the town):

http://www.maplandia.com/united-kingdom/england/east-anglia/norfolk-county/fakenham/

 

Tomorrow, Choc is due to ride at Ludlow although, again, there will be an inspection

13:55 Simply Wings (Richard Lee) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:40 Hector’s Choice (Richard Lee) – Beginners’ Chase

 

In Ireland, Big Zeb finished as runner-up today, with Golden Silver collaring him on the line.  More  With Willie Mullins training five of the winners at Punchestown today. 

 

There’s good news that Deep Reflection, having been retired, has been found a lovely new home; and King Ozzy having failed to sell at Cheltenham sales, has gone back home to Martin Keighley’s yard with the hope of finding him a new owner soon and keeping him in the yard.  I find it interesting to read through the online sales details, and here is a link to yesterdays.  More

 

I watched ATR’s Sunday Forum today, and I was so in agreement with Aussie Jim about the inappropriate clothing (or perhaps the term should be too little clothing) which some people wear to the races during the winter months; although I’m definitely not a member of the ‘tweed brigade’ which come into their own at Cheltenham.  It was bitterly cold yesterday (the wind chill factor being the major problem), but I wore so many layers (probably a record for me of 8 plus coat, and included 3 fleeces) that I didn’t feel it; I can’t recall shivering once. 

 

The Forum also spoke about the facilities at Cheltenham and I confess I came back from yesterday’s fixture feeling disappointed; the racecourse does feel ‘run-down’ and ‘tired’.  Viewing around the Parade Ring is very poor, the steps around the Winners’ Enclosure difficult to negotiate (and I’m nimble); there are ‘bottlenecks’ trying to get to and from the area in front of the grandstand (and it will be a whole lot worse at the Festival); and yesterday it was very difficult to see the single big screen at the top end of the course.  

 

I’ve uploaded my Cheltenham photos (Part 1 & Part 2), and hope to start the first draft of my diary later this evening.

 

Another Grand Slam disappointment for Andy Murray (his third), with a straight sets loss to Novak Djokovic in the final in Melbourne today.  Oh well, the wait for a tennis Grand Slam champion goes on; however even Agassi lost his first 3 Grand Slam finals before winning his first at Wimbledon in 1992.  So there may still be hope.

 

Saturday 29 January 2011

 

cheltenham 29 Jan 2011 i blog r.jpg

 

Choc unsaddles Bakbenscher

 

Doncaster was abandoned, but both Cheltenham and Uttoxeter went ahead. 

 

Having tuned into The Morning Line (new format ... but I’m not very keen on it) I discovered that Cheltenham were going to carry out a second inspection at 10:45.  However, the Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, was 80% confident that there would be a positive outcome so, as I was ready to go, I went!  I set out at 09:00 and arrived at Cheltenham racecourse at 11:15.  

    

Today’s Cheltenham results are as follows:

Ikorudo Road (Martin Keighley) was a non-runner (footsore) and Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) fell at the first in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (8 ran). 

I could hardly believe it – Choc has now had 3 falls and 1 unseat this week.  I spoke to him as he walked back in, and he was fine (although he currently has a scratch on his nose); and he agreed that it had been a bad week ...

Bakbenscher (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Grade 3 Handicap Chase, but not before he’d given Choc a couple of frights in the jumping department – Choc had to cling on for dear life after an awkward jump at the last followed by a stumble!  (Grade 3 Handicap) (10 ran).

Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 9th and Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (The Classic Novices’ Hurdle) (10 ran).

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley) was withdrawn and Bensalem (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Cleeve Hurdle (14 ran).  The race was won in style by the David Pipe trained Grands Crus.

Gilded Age (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

 

The Argento Chase was won by the Paul Nicholls trained Nepture Collonges ridden by AP McCoy.

 

Tomorrow, Choc has 3 riding engagements at Fakenham, all for Alan King:

14:55 Rustarix – Handicap Chase (3 miles and ½ a furlong)

15:55 Enfant De Lune – Handicap Chase (2 miles and ½ a furlong)

16:25 Dineur – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Meanwhile, at Hereford, Alan King has one runner:

16:35 Aldiva (Charlie Huxley) – Intermediate NH Flat Race (Conditional Jockeys and Amateur Riders)

 

However, both Fakenham and Hereford are to hold early morning inspections.

Friday 28 January 2011

Choc was at Fontwell Park this afternoon ... but, unfortunately, he’s been taking a bit of a pounding this week; and must be covered in bruises too. L  I have to confess I keep a record of his falls / unseatings / brought downs and the notebook has been called into action 3 times so far this week.  Oh dear.  But the good news is that, having suffered a fall today, he completed all his remaining rides so must be okay, if a little sore.

 

Fontwell Park:

Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) fell ‘heavily’ two out in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).  Fortunately the horse was okay too, as it rose to its feet and finished the race, rider-less.

Ban Uisce (Neil Mulholland/Choc) finished 4th in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs) (16 ran).

Oh No Not Harry (Ian Williams/Choc) finished 8th in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 2½ furlongs) (13 ran).

Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (9 ran).

 

Doncaster:

Yorgunnabelucky (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (11 ran).

It’s A Date (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 9th and Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) finished 10th in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 5th and Double Pride (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Novices’ Handicap Chase (11 ran).

Franklino (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).

Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was a non-runner in the NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier

 

Tomorrow, there are lots runners of interest at Cheltenham and Doncaster, so good luck to all of them, and I’m hoping for at least one winner!

 

Cheltenham

13:30 Ikorudo Road (Martin Keighley/Tom Scudamore) & Ravethebrave (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

14:00 Bakbenscher (Alan King/Choc) – Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)

15:05 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (The Classic Novices’ Hurdle)

15:35 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Bensalem (Alan King/Choc) – Cleeve Hurdle

16:10 Gilded Age (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Doncaster

12:40 Like A Hurricane (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Hurdle

13:45 Norman The Great (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

14:15 Oh Crick (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

14:45 Iron Chancellor (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:20 Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Sky Bet Chase (formerly the Great Yorkshire Chase) (Listed Handicap)

15:55 Medinas (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There is going to be inspection at Cheltenham at 08:45 in the morning; and at Doncaster and Uttoxeter too.

 

Having read the latest news update on Alan King’s website last night, I already knew that Smad Place would not be running tomorrow.  More

 

And news that Alan King may be ‘mob-handed’ in Newbury’s Totesport Trophy on 12 February 2011.  More  I’ve already got my ticket for this fixture.

 

Here is the link to Wayne Hutchinson’s latest column on the Sporting Life website.  More

 

And Martin Keighley’s latest column in the Gloucestershire Press too.

 

I’m still hoping to go to Cheltenham tomorrow; and will set my alarm for 05:30 so that I can get ready before watching Channel 4’s The Morning Line.  However, because of the travelling distance involved, the course will have to pass its first inspection, as it must be confirmed that the meeting will go ahead to enable me to set off from home.  If it gets the green light, I’ll have to take the quickest route, which is M25, M40, and A40; which takes around 2 hours.  Gates open at 11:00.

Thursday 27 January 2011

There were a number of runners of interest at Warwick today and this is how they fared:

Dhaafer (Alan King/Choc) won the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, giving Choc his 21st winner of the season (14 ran).

Balzaccio (Alan King/Choc) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (3 ran).

Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) was a non-runner and Vivarini (JGM O’Shea/Choc) fell in the Handicap Hurdle (10 ran).

Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (10 ran).

Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Intermediate Open NH Flat Race (18 ran).

 

There are runners of interest at both Fontwell Park and Doncaster tomorrow; with Choc having 4 riding engagements at Fontwell.

 

Fontwell Park:

13:30 Raya Star (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Ban Uisce (Neil Mulholland/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs)

15:50 Oh No Not Harry (Ian Williams/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 2½ furlongs)

16:20 Batonnier (Alan King/Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Doncaster:

12:50 Yorgunnabelucky (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle Div I

13:20 It’s A Date (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) & Won More Night (Martin Keighley/Ian Popham) – Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

14:30 Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Double Pride (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Handicap Chase

15:05 Franklino (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Hurdle

16:10 Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle Qualifier

 

I guess it makes good sense for Choc to go to Fontwell, as he thinks highly of Batonnier and I imagine he is hoping for a good run from Raya Star too.  Whereas Franklino, who runs at Doncaster, has been disappointing so far.  Besides, I presume that Wayne will be riding at Doncaster on Saturday too, whilst Choc goes to Cheltenham.

 

Doncaster is subject to a 07:30 inspection due to the threat of frost: 

 

Cheltenham is confident that Saturday’s fixture will beat the cold weather, as frost covers have been deployed.  More  And I have to say it is a bit parky outside tonight!

 

Evidently there was a mix-up at the races today involving two of Nicky Henderson’s horses; a horse scheduled to run at Ffos Las was transported to Warwick, and vice versa.  More

 

Choc has appeared on Channel 4’s The Morning Line on Cheltenham Trials Day for at least past two years, so I wonder if he will be the guest on Saturday too.  And weren’t Channel 4 going to revamp the show and launch the ‘new look’ programme this Saturday?

 

My Ascot diary needs just one final proof read and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to upload it later this evening.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Choc was at Huntingdon this afternoon, where he had 4 rides, all for Alan King:

Araldur finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (14 ran)

Yvonne Evelyn finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II (14 ran)

Kauto The Roc finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) (3 miles 2 furlongs) (13 ran)

Raduis Bleu finished 3rd in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 5½ furlongs) (15 ran)

Sadly not the treble he’d wished for today; having ridden 3 winners at Huntingdon on this day in 2005, with wins aboard Voy Por Ustedes, Penzance and Almaydan. 

 

There are a number of runners of interest tomorrow, at Warwick:

13:10 Dhaafer (Alan King/Choc) – Juvenile Maiden Hurdle

14:50 Balzaccio (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Chase

15:25 Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Vivarini (JGM O’Shea/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:55 Brimham Boy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Chase

16:25 Gospel Preacher (Alan King/Choc) – Intermediate Open NH Flat Race

 

Although it is 6 years to the day since Choc first rode Voy Por Ustedes on a British racecourse, in the Novices’ Hurdle race at Huntingdon, I wondered why Choc had taken the opportunity to highlight the horse’s career in his Racing Post column last Monday.  And now we know why ... More  

 

I realise that a number of horses benefit from a change of yard – a bit like changing your job; and sometimes it’s better to be a ‘big fish in a small pond’, rather than a ‘small fish in a big pond’ (although of course not in this instance); but it’s a shame Voy Por has now been transferred to the Nicky Henderson yard in an effort to revitalise the horse’s career L.  And I expect Choc is sad about this too. 

 

It’s really strange, as I’d thought about Voy Por at the weekend, wondering if he’d been retired, as I’d not heard anything about the horse for a while; so it was a bit ‘spooky’ when I read Choc’s column on Monday, although he didn’t mention anything about future plans for the horse ... but that, of course, is because Voy Por is no longer an inmate at Barbury Castle.

 

There’s good news regarding Martin Keighley’s Champion Court, following yesterday’s coughing scare, he scoped clean and they are hoping his blood tests will be okay too.  And Deep Reflection is to be retired; and he will be found a good home. 

 

And good news regarding jockey Jack Doyle, who is riding out again after breaking his leg last November.  More

 

As I’ve been on leave from work today, I did have the option of going to Huntingdon races ... but I’ve currently got my heart set on a trip to Cheltenham’s Trials Day this Saturday! 

 

My Saturday racing calendar is looking very full at the moment – Sandown Park on 05 February; Newbury on 12 February; I believe I will have a free weekend on 19 February (when Mille Chief and presumably Choc go to Wincanton for the Kingwell Hurdle); Kempton Park on 26 February; possibly Kempton or Newbury on 05 March; Sandown on 12 March and then, of course, the 4 consecutive weekdays of the Cheltenham Festival!  But I go to the Festival (and the Grand National) instead of taking a summer holiday!

Tuesday 25 January 2011

A number of runners of interest at Leicester today:

Lord Liath (Alan King/Choc) finished runner up in the Novices’ Hurdle Div I (8 ran).   Unfortunately Martin Keighley’s Champion Court didn’t run in this race as he coughed this morning and the vet was called to scope him – so keep tuned to Martin’s website to find out further news regarding his emerging star. 

Choc and Invictus (Alan King) had a mishap in the Novices’ Hurdle Div II when leading.  Choc lost his right stirrup just after the 2nd last so, having lost his balance, he was in the process of righting himself, when Invictus stumbled and unseated him.  It was rather bizarre.  And I don’t expect the punters would have been very pleased ... as he was race favourite!  But the every good news, from my point of view, is that Choc was fine and he jogged back sound!

Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 7th in the Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Deep Reflection (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) finished 8th (last) in the Handicap Hurdle, the remainder having pulled up (15 ran).

 

There’s a brief over of today’s racing on Alan King’s website:

http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

Sadly Martin Keighley’s King Ozzy is due to go the sales on Friday, but he is hoping that someone might step in before then to buy the horse in order to keep him in their yard.  It’s just a pity I’ve not won the lottery yet, otherwise a National Hunt racehorse or three would definitely be on my shopping list, along with a house in the country and ... a rocking horse – as I’ve wanted one since I was a young child! 

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Huntingdon, where he has 4 rides, all for Alan King:

13:15 Araldur – Novices’ Hurdle Div I

13:45 Yvonne Evelyn – Novices’ Hurdle Div II

14:45 Kauto The Roc – Handicap Hurdle (Qualifier) (3 miles 2 furlongs)

15:45 Raduis Bleu – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 5½ furlongs)

 

And me?  I’ve got another day’s leave ... as I’m still using up last year’s holiday!

Monday 24 January 2011

A number of runners of interest tomorrow, at Leicester:

13:10 Champion Court (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Lord Liath (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle Div I

13:40 Invictus (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle Div II

14:40 Golbelini (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Mares’ NH Novices’ Hurdle

16:10 Deep Reflection (Martin Keighley/Jimmy Derham) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Choc’s column appeared in the Racing Post today and, as always, I’ve summarised the content.  More

 

More good news regarding the popular grey, Monet’s Garden

 

There have been a number of defectors from Newbury’s totesport Gold Trophy, leaving Alan King’s Salden Licht and Nicky Henderson’s Solix at the head of the official ratings.  More  I booked my tickets for this February 12 fixture earlier this evening. 

 

Frost covers may be deployed at Cheltenham ahead of Trials Day this Saturday.  More

 

And AP McCoy is facing a dilemma as to which horse to ride in this season’s Grand National! 

 

I overlooked Martin Keighley’s column in last week’s Gloucestershire press.  More

His only ride yesterday at Towcester having defected, Choc was a spectator at the Heythrop Point-to-Point yesterday too.  And I’ve met Onny the pony!

Sunday 23 January 2011

Choc’s only ride at Towcester (The Ferbane Man) was a non-runner.

Martin Keighley’s Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

 

And Kinkeel won the Handicap Chase at Towcester – it must be nice for him to get his head in front albeit in lowly company; as he’s frequently competed in ‘conditions’ races despite his official ratings mark (currently 69).

 

The only National Hunt meeting tomorrow is Wetherby; and it will be subject to a precautionary inspection.  No rides for Choc; but Monday and Thursday are schooling days at Barbury Castle, so he will have plenty to do.

 

Haydock’s Champion Hurdle Trial will not be re-scheduled, as there are a number of alternative races over the coming weeks.  More  

 

And Walkon has come back sound following his run at Ascot yesterday and both trainer and jockey are ‘absolutely delighted’ with his run.   http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

I’ve finished and have uploaded my Kempton Park diary, and also the photos I took yesterday.  But I’m feeling tired and I awoke with a headache this morning, possibly due to dehydration or a stiff neck; the latter often results when my neck gets cold, which it must have done at Ascot yesterday (I wore a scarf but my hair is now short).  If I sleep in the cold draft from a window, or even under an airbrick, I wake up with a very stiff neck too. 

 

What I need is a ‘duvet day’ – but, due to my conscientious nature, I never take time off work without very good reason; I’ve not taken a sick day for 18 months (despite not enjoying my job).   

 

Kempton Park Diary 15 January 2011

 

Ascot Photos 1

 

Ascot Photos 2 (Walkon)

Saturday 22 January 2011

 

walkon for blog r.jpg

 

Walkon in the Parade Ring at Ascot,

prior to the 2 mile 3½ furlong Holloway’s Hurdle

(Grade 2 Limited Handicap)

 

Haydock failed its early morning inspection and thus all eyes were turned to the 7 race card at Ascot today.  Walkon, having been declared for the Grade 2 Limited Handicap Hurdle (as second preference to Haydock), was therefore diverted to the Berkshire track; with Choc now travelling to the course to take the ride.  Choc replaced Wayne Hutchinson aboard Gold Reef and Surburban Bay.  Wayne retained the ride aboard Mr Stickler and, because he was no longer required for Surburban Bay, he was then able to take the ride aboard the Warren Greatrex trained No Secrets in the last race of the day.   

 

Here are today’s results:

 

Ascot:

Master Stickler (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (6 ran).

Gold Reef (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (8 ran).

Shalone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th and Walkon (Alan King/Choc) was runner-up in the Grade 2 Limited Handicap Hurdle (14 ran) ... he was beaten by 40-1 shot Tiger O’Toole.  Soldatino finished 6th. 

Surburban Bay (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (14 ran).

 

Turf Trivia – Walkon’s form figures now read 121121/-2 – and on all 3 occasions where he has finished as runner-up he has been beaten by another grey – Zaynar (twice) and now Tiger O’Toole.

 

I think Walkon is going to be my favourite horse – he’s talented and beautiful, especially now that his tail is no longer threadbare!  

 

There were a number of exciting finishes today, not least of which was Master Minded’s short-head victory over Somersby in today’s feature event, the Victor Chandler Chase.  

 

Wincanton:

Tuanku (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) finished 10th in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

 

Market Rasen is going to inspect ahead of tomorrow’s fixture.  More

 

Choc has just one ride tomorrow, at Towcester:

13:30 The Ferbane Man (Tim Vaughan) – Novices’ Hurdle; Martin Keighley also has a runner in this race, Havingotascoobydo (Warren Marston).

 

As you can see from the above photo, I ventured out to Ascot today.  I missed the first 5 minutes of Channel 4’s The Morning Line as I didn’t wake up until 08:00, having not turned in until 01:30 this morning.  However there was a ‘banner’ scrolling across the bottom of the screen informing the viewers that a decision had already been made to abandon the Haydock Park fixture.  And that could only mean one thing – Walkon would divert to Ascot ... and so would Choc.  So it was another unexpected and ‘rush to get ready’ kind of day out; just like Sandown a fortnight ago.  Never mind, I’m really pleased I made the effort as it was an exciting day’s racing.

 

However, I’ve not had time to amend and proof the final draft of my Kempton Park diary, as I went racing instead.  But that will be my next task, prior to uploading today’s photos and starting on a draft of today’s diary ... and I thought I was going to have a quiet and relaxing week!   

Friday 21 January 2011

Chepstow, Catterick and Kelso were all abandoned ... so no results today!

 

And both Wincanton and Haydock will undergo early morning inspections ahead of their fixtures tomorrow.

 

There are a number of runners of interest, with Choc engaged to ride at Haydock Park.

 

Haydock Park:

14:05 Walkon (Alan King/Choc) – Champion Hurdle Trial.  He has just 3 declared rivals – Peddlers Cross, Washington Irving and Ruthenoise

15:50 Soir D’Estruval (Alan King/Choc) – ‘Fixed Brush’ Novices’ Hurdle

16:20 Genstone Trail (Alan King/Choc) & Astralogical (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Ascot:

12:40 Master Stickler (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

13:50 Gold Reef (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

14:55 Shalone (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Hurdle (Grade 2 Limited Handicap).  Triumph Hurdle winner, Soldatino runs in this race ... and Walkon has been declared as a ‘second preference’ runner (just in case Haydock is abandoned).

16:05 Surburban Bay (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

 

The highlight on the card is the Victor Chandler Chase at 14:25 where all the runners are ‘well-known’ (or at least they are to me!) – Master Minded, Crack Away Jack, Gauvain, I’m So Lucky, Kalahari King, Mad Max, Petit Robin, Somersby and Tchico Polos.

 

Wincanton:

13:40 Tuanku (Alan King/Charlie Huxley) – Handicap Hurdle

 

And, looking forward to tomorrow’s meetings at Ascot and Haydock.  More   

 

Tom Scudamore returns to the saddle tomorrow, following an injury sustained when being unseated at Sandown Park a fortnight ago.  More

 

Kauto Star is recovering well from the infection discovered after his King George VI Chase run.  More

 

And further good news regarding Monet’s Garden

 

With Choc at Haydock Park tomorrow (weather permitting), I will be spending Saturday at home.  I don’t think I’ll be paying any visits to Ascot this season ... as their following fixture (19 February) coincides with Mille Chief’s run in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton, presumably with Choc on board.  A pity really, as despite often being bitterly cold at the Berkshire track, it’s very easy for me to get to ... and I never have any traffic problems because I park in the farthest car park (which is free) and exit via the road which runs through an underpass beneath the straight mile and along to Swinley Bottom; thus missing the High Street traffic jams.   

Thursday 20 January 2011

Today Choc was at Taunton; but no winners:

Dona finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (7 ran)

Ashbourne Folly finished 8th in the Maiden Open NH Flat Race (14 ran)

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Chepstow, where he has one ride:

15:20 Victory Gunner (Richard Lee) – Handicap Chase. 

 

I have a recollection that I’ve been driven past Chepstow racecourse on a couple of occasions many moons ago – once when my parents took the family for a day out in Ross on Wye and the Forest of Dean area, and the other time when we were going on holiday to Cardigan and cut across country to Monmouth before travelling along the A40 through the Brecon Beacons.  I love the Welsh countryside and have fond memories of holidays based in the aforementioned Cardigan, also Carmarthen, Rhayader, and Abergele. 

 

On Alan King’s website there’s news of Walkon’s reappearance, and that of Bakbenscher too, at Haydock on Saturday; plus a round-up regarding recent runners.  http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

And there’s another positive bulletin regarding Monet’s Garden.

 

And, finally, news of my Kempton Park diary ... I’ve completed the first draft (7,200 words), but now need to check the race descriptions by watching a video recording of each event.  After which, hopefully, I can proof read the complete work and upload it onto my website; probably tomorrow or Saturday.    

Wednesday 19 January 2011

Alan King had 6 runners at Newbury today, and this is how they fared:

Pride In Battle won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 20th winner of the season. J  Alan’s other runner, Ravastree (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th (7 ran).

Asturienne (Choc) finished 2nd in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase (4 ran).

Stoney’s Treasure (Choc) finished 3rd in the Handicap Chase (2 miles 2½ furlongs) (10 ran).

Wind Instrument (Choc) finished 9th and Trigger The Light (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 5th in the Handicap Chase (3 miles) (11 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Taunton, where he has 2 riding engagements:

15:30 Dona – Handicap Hurdle (Alan King)

16:30 Ashbourne Folly – Maiden Open NH Flat Race (R H Buckler)

 

Mattie Batchelor sustained a neck injury at Southwell yesterday and is expected to be on the sidelines for a month. More  Mattie is the ‘joker’ in the weighing room, and best wishes to him for a speedy recovery.

 

It has been discovered that Kauto Star is suffering from a ‘low-grade’ infection.  More  It must be just as easy for horses to pick up viruses as it is for humans ... they wouldn’t stand much chance in my office, it sounds more like a doctor’s surgery at the moment as everyone seems to have a cough or a cold!  There have been many viruses going the rounds since mid-November – fortunately, touch wood, I’ve only had one cold so far.

 

Peddlers Cross is expected to have 7 rivals in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock on Saturday, including Walkon.  More

 

I’ve spent every spare moment working on my Kempton Park diary, and have written over 5,800 words so far ... but I’ve still not finished my first draft.  Super Saturday equals super-size diary!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Choc had one ride at Southwell today, and this is how he fared:

Poetic Beat finished 11th in the Mares’ Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race (13 ran).

 

Tomorrow Alan King has 6 runners at Newbury:

14:05 Pride In Battle (Choc) & Ravastree (Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:40 Asturienne (Choc) makes her steeplechasing debut in the Mares’ Novices’ Chase

15:15 Stoney’s Treasure (Choc) – Handicap Chase (2 miles 2½ furlongs)

15:50 Wind Instrument (Choc) & Trigger The Light (Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase (3 miles)

 

There’s good news regarding Martin Keighley’s Benbane Head (‘Benny’) who he reports is fine following his fall at Wetherby on Saturday, although a little stiff.

 

I wish jockey Adam Wedge a speedy recovery, having suffered a fracture to his lower right leg at Fakenham yesterday.  More

 

And Monet’s Garden continues to make steady progress.  More

 

Another evening of diary writing in prospect and, fortunately, there don’t appear to be any interesting programmes on TV to sidetrack me like there were yesterday. 

 

Monday 17 January 2011

No results today, as Choc had no riding engagements, and Martin Keighley no runners either.

 

Tomorrow, Choc has just one ride at Southwell – for recently retired colleague, Seamus Durack, who is now a racehorse trainer!

16:00 Poetic Beat – Mares’ Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race.

 

Here is a link to my summary of Choc’s Racing Post column published today.  More

 

No sign of a new edition of Meally’s Nagwag blog on the Eclipse website ... but it must be extremely difficult to find the time when there’s a new baby to look after.

 

This evening I watched a very interesting programme on Channel 4, called ‘Birth of Britain’ (episode 1 of 3), presented by Tony Robinson (Blackadder’s Baldrick and presenter of Time Team).  I’ve been interested in Plate Tectonics ever since I watched a programme on the subject many moons ago (probably during the 1970s), so this programme which today examined the creation of our present day UK landscape by now extinct volcanoes (such as Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh) was fascinating.  Tony also visited Skye, an island totally shaped by volcanic eruptions and subsequent erosion.  Black Cuillin

 

And then I switched over to watch ‘What is Reality?’ -  an offering from the Horizon series on BBC2, another interesting science programme – physicists ... quantum mechanics ... multiple realities ... black holes ... and it appears that there are now experiments taking place to try and discover if ourselves and our world are, in fact, part of a cosmic hologram!  And it seems that even scientists don’t fully understand quantum mechanics – my younger brother Neil certainly didn’t when he studied for his Physics degree.  He decided upon a career as a Chartered Accountant because he didn’t wish to work with scientific ‘nerds’!

 

I didn’t expect to be sidetracked by any TV programmes this evening.  Oh well, time to get back to work on my Kempton Park diary (I’ve written almost 3,300 words so far) ... and I can see it’s going to be another late night!

Sunday 16 January 2011

Racing took place at a very wet Ffos Las today.  The going suited some but not others and this is how the Alan King and Martin Keighley runners fared:

Tales To Tell (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up but Saffron Lord (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) finished 2nd in the Maiden Hurdle Div I (11 ran).

Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 3rd in the Maiden Hurdle Div II, having been collared for 2nd close home.  The winner was a 66-1 shot!  (10 ran).

Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) was a non-runner; Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

16:20 Lucky Mix (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (11 ran).

 

No rides for Choc tomorrow, although there are fixtures at Fakenham and Plumpton.

 

There’s news that Kauto Star slightly bleed after the King George VI Chase yesterday, for the first time in his 36 race career.  More

 

And Forpadydeplasterer was found to be ‘clinically abnormal’ following the race, which explains his poor showing before Choc pulled him up.  More

 

And it has also been discovered that The Nightingale has a fibrillating heart, much like the problem Denman had to overcome earlier in his career.  More

 

Obviously Long Run won on merit, he loves the track, and his amateur jockey gave him a great ride ... but I wonder if there would have been a different result if the entries had been re-opened, especially in light of the fact that a number of yesterday’s runners had problems which were discovered after the race?

 

There’s also a new blog update on Alan King’s website, looking back over yesterday’s events at Warwick and Kempton.   http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.php

 

I wonder what Choc will write about in his Racing Post column tomorrow?  Probably the King George VI Chase, and perhaps the incident at Huntingdon on Friday when the majority of the riders in the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle took the wrong course and were disqualified.  And how about looking forward to Walkon’s envisaged return to the racetrack next weekend, when he is scheduled to run in the Champion Hurdle trial at Haydock? 

 

I’ve uploaded the photos I took yesterday.  Although it’s a pity that the dull and overcast conditions have affected the quality of the photographs.  The broadcasters turn up the brightness on TV, so viewers have no idea just how gloomy it can be.  It was dusk by the time Andrew Thornton won the last race aboard Rear Gunner.

 

Here are the links to my photos:

 

King George VI Chase

 

Christmas Hurdle

 

Choc Photos

 

And, finally, a very Happy Birthday to my friend Mark ... who is 50 today!

 

Saturday 15 January 2011

 

King George VI Chase 10 for blog.jpg

 

King George VI Chase 11 for blog.jpg

 

Long Run clears the last to claim

this season’s King George VI Chase

The vanquished – Kauto Star is led around the

Winners’ Enclosure having finished a gallant 3rd

 

 

 

Kempton Park 15 Jan 2011 n for blog.jpg

 

... and ‘you know who’ of the beautiful curls!

 

 

Kempton Park turned out to be a bit of a Nicky Henderson benefit day – he trained 5 of the 9 winners today, including both of the Grade 1 events!  And it wasn’t a bad day for Barry Geraghty and AP McCoy either ... as they both rode trebles.

 

Obviously the big story of the day was Long Run’s win in the King George VI Chase; Kauto Star was a gallant 3rd.  More

 

The Christmas Hurdle was won by Binocular.   

 

The feature Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle was won by James De Vassy trained by Nick Williams.  More

 

Here is a round-up of today’s results:

 

Kempton Park:

Credit Crunched (Alan King/Sam Thomas) finished 6th and Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Choc) finished 9th in the Novices’ Hurdle (17 ran).

Top Mark (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) finished last and Samsons Son (Alan King/Choc) finished 6th in the Handicap Hurdle (16 ran).

Forpadydeplasterer (T Cooper/Choc) was pulled up in the King George VI Chase (9 ran).

The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Choc) finished 13th in the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle (19 ran).

 

Warwick:

Call Me A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Chase (6 ran)

Love Of Tara (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) pulled up and Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Peter Hatton) fell in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

Jetnova (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Novices’ Hurdle (8 ran).

West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) won the Classic Chase (Handicap) (15 ran).

Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Nicky Henderson did suffer one reversal of fortune today, when the Trevor Hemmings owned Peveril suffered a fatal fall in the Novices’ Chase.

 

Wetherby:

Rivermouth (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 11th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (17 ran).

Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) finished 2nd in the Handicap Chase (9 ran).  Sadly, Lord Larsson suffered an injury which proved fatal when unseating at the last in this event.

Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) fell 2 out in the Handicap Hurdle (8 ran).  I hope and presume ‘Benny’ is okay following this mishap.

 

Tomorrow, both Alan King and Martin Keighley have runners at Ffos Las:

13:00 Tales To Tell (Alan King/Choc) & Saffron Lord (Martin Keighley/Tom Siddall) – Maiden Hurdle Div I

13:30 Junior Jack (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Maiden Hurdle Div II

14:00 Wolf Moon (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) & Prince Du Seuil (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

16:20 Lucky Mix (Alan King/Choc) – Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

It’s a pity Choc didn’t have a very good day at Kempton Park, especially as Wayne Hutchinson rode 2 winners for the Alan King yard at Warwick. 

 

However, I have to confess that I got more than I bargained for today having put the finishing touches to a cross stitch picture for baby William.  I took it along with me to Kempton, hoping that I might get the opportunity to present it to Choc.  So I went to the racecourse office and spoke with Victoria, and we set off for the Weighing Room to see if Choc was available.  It transpired that he was in the sauna at the time, but he did pop out briefly to speak with Victoria to say that he would be out at around 10:30 as he had arranged to do an interview with Kate Miller of William Hill.  And, yes, all he was wearing was a towel around his neither regions!  So that was a nice treat for me!!! J. 

 

So I loitered outside the Weighing Room building for a while ... then went away for a few minutes, returning at 10:20.  However I must have missed him leaving the building but, fortunately, I caught him as he jogged back having completed the interview.  Mission accomplished.  J

 

It was a nightmare trying to exit the car park at Kempton today – it was total gridlock for around half an hour; and not much better for the following 35 minutes!  I got back to my car at around 16:20, and finally drove out of the car park at 17:35!  I didn’t even bother to turn on the car engine; I just waited for the area to clear.     

 

I feel very tired this evening ... so I’ll upload my photos onto this site tomorrow.  And, hopefully, make a start on my diary too.

Friday 14 January 2011

Choc was at Huntingdon today, where he had 2 rides for Alan King:

Patsy Finnegan finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran).  Iroquois Warrior, Wayne Hutchinson intended ride, didn’t run.

Diamond Sweeper finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (12 ran).

 

The biggest story of the day occurred at Huntingdon, where the majority of the riders in the first race day of the day, the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle in which there were 11 runners, took the wrong course on the approach to the first flight and were subsequently disqualified.  All bar one of the errant jockeys (including Sam Twiston-Davies) received 15 day bans due to the fact they completed the course, the remaining jockey (Nathan Sweeney) received 12 days as he pulled up his mount as soon as he realised what had happened.  More  

 

Not good news for tomorrow’s Warwick fixture, where they inspect again in the morning as it’s currently unraceable.  More

 

But Kempton Park appears to have missed most of the forecasted rain, and conditions will be better than originally expected.  More

 

A ‘big’ day’s racing tomorrow, with 9 races at Kempton Park (including the re-scheduled King George VI Chase and Christmas Hurdle), and fixtures at Wetherby and Warwick, the latter subject to an inspection.

And here are all the runners of interest:

 

Kempton Park:

12:50 Credit Crunched (Alan King/Sam Thomas) & Midnight Prayer (Alan King/Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle

13:30 Top Mark (Alan King/Gerard Tumelty) & Samsons Son (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

15:00 Forpadydeplasterer (T Cooper/Choc) – King George VI Chase

15:35 The Betchworth Kid (Alan King/Choc) – Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle

 

Along with Forpadydeplasterer, the other scheduled runners in the King George are Kauto Star, Albertas Run, Log Run, Madison Du Berlais, Nacarat, Planet of Sound, Riverside Theatre, and The Nightingale.

 

The 6 runners in the rescheduled Christmas Hurdle include Binocular, Khyber Kim, Overturn and Starluck.

 

Warwick:

13:40 Call Me A Legend (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Handicap Chase

14:10 Love Of Tara (Martin Keighley/Wayne Hutchinson) & Kauto The Roc (Alan King/Peter Hatton) – Handicap Hurdle

14:45 Jetnova (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:20 West End Rocker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Classic Chase (Handicap)

15:55 Cold Knight (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

Wetherby:

13:30 Rivermouth (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:00 Enfant De Lune (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) – Handicap Chase

15:10 Benbane Head (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Here is the link to Martin Keighley’s column in this week’s Gloucestershire press. More

 

And Wayne Hutchinson’s latest Sporting Life column too.

 

By accident, and when ‘channel hopping’, I found episode 1 of 3 of a comedy series on BBC2 at 22:00 yesterday.  It’s called ‘The Great Outdoors’ and is about the dysfunctional members of a rambling club.  I’ve been on a few rambles organised by rambling clubs ... and the programme strikes a chord with me!  Especially as they were (allegedly) walking from Great Missenden to Stokenchurch, an area I know well through rambling.  I far preferred to go walking with my friend Mark ... because he wasn’t a ‘nerd’.  The only problem was that he sometimes ‘cried off’ at the last minute because he had a hangover.  Never mind, horseracing has now taken over as my favourite pastime, besides Mark met an old school-friend via Friends United and they are now married and living in Derby!

 

Unlike last Saturday, when my trip to Sandown was a spur of the moment thing, I’m organised this week.  Kempton Park opens its gates at 09:30, with car parking available from 09:00.  I’ve packed my ‘race day’ handbag, I’ve got my ticket, my clothes have been selected and put to one side, and my boots are already in my car (as I drive wearing boat shoes).  My alarm is set for 05:30 ... yes, I know that is early (unless you work in a racing stables), but I hope to set off for Kempton at 08:00 in the morning.  And I’m really looking forward to a great day of racing ... and to seeing Choc of course!

Thursday 13 January 2011

Fortunately Hereford passed their early morning inspection and this is how Choc fared aboard his one ride of the day:

Simply Wings finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs) (10 ran).

 

And Martin Keighley had 3 runners at the fixture:

Jacko’s Boy (Warren Marston) finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Junior Jack was a non-runner in the Maiden Hurdle

Mauricetheathlete (Mr N Slatter) finished 3rd (one place behind Simply Wings) in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs) (10 ran).

Ukrainian Star (Warren Marston) won the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles 2 furlongs) (17 ran).  Many congratulations to Martin Keighley and his team – the first winner of 2011 and 12th of the season.  Ukrainian Star must be very suited by the heavy going; and he was one of only 7 horses who completed the course, the remaining 10 having been pulled up!  

 

Tomorrow Choc will be at Huntingdon, where Alan King has 3 scheduled runners:

14:10 Iroquois Warrior (Wayne Hutchinson) & Patsy Finnegan (Choc) – Novices’ Chase

15:40 Diamond Sweeper (Choc) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

The disappointing weather forecast for East Anglia tomorrow has probably put me off taking a trip up to Huntingdon.  However, the weather is supposed to be dry and mild on Saturday for Kempton Park’s Super Saturday meeting, which is a relief.

 

Here is the link to the Racing Post’s ‘King George’ site:  More

 

On Alan King’s website there is a detailed update on his intended runners for Saturday; together with prospective plans for both Mille Chief and Medermit.  http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.htm

 

And there’s another bulletin on the ailing grey, Monet’s Garden

 

I’ve been ‘burning the candle at both ends’ and late yesterday (at 23:00 in fact) completed and uploaded my diary relating to my Sandown Park trip last Saturday.  Click here

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Another day, another winner for Choc J; and this is how Alan King’s runners fared today:

No Tears (Choc) finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle (Div I) (14 ran).

The Laodicean (Choc) finished 4th in the Novices’ Hurdle (Div II) (14 ran).

Franklino (Choc) finished 2nd in the Juvenile Hurdle (6 ran).

Lake Legend (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).

China Gold (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd but Wild Desert (Choc) won the Handicap Hurdle (15 ran), giving Choc his 19th winner of the season. 

 

Tomorrow Choc has one ride scheduled at Hereford:

14:40 Simply Wings (Richard Lee) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs)

 

And Martin Keighley has 4 runners at Hereford:

13:10 Jacko’s Boy (Warren Marston) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:10 Junior Jack (Warren Marston) – Maiden Hurdle

14:40 Mauricetheathlete (Mr N Slatter) – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 6½ furlongs)

15:10 Ukrainian Star (Warren Marston) – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles 2 furlongs)

 

However, Hereford is subject to an inspection at 08:30 in the morning. 

 

News that Danny Cook has been booked to ride Madison du Berlais in Saturday’s King George VI Chase, Tom Scudamore having sustained a kidney injury when being unseated from Far More Serious at Sandown last Saturday. 

 

And with regard to the prevailing weather in the southeast affecting the going at Kempton – it’s been heavy drizzle for most of the day in St Albans (21 miles northwest of London ... distances being measured from Charing Cross), with worse I gather tomorrow.

 

Here is an article giving news of Walkon’s planned return to the racecourse, which I’m very much looking forward to.  More   I wonder if he’s still the ‘tail-less’ horse?  Evidently it is a result of his habit of rubbing his tail against the wall of his box!   

 

More progress has been made on my Sandown diary and I hope to upload it soon.

 

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Martin Keighley had one runner at Leicester today, Deep Reflection finishing 7th of 11 in the Selling Hurdle under Jimmy Derham.

 

Tomorrow Alan King has a number of runners at Doncaster, where Choc rides 4 of them and Wayne Hutchinson rides 2:

12:35 No Tears (Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (Div I)

13:05 The Laodicean (Choc) – Novices’ Hurdle (Div II)

13:40 Franklino (Choc) – Juvenile Hurdle

14:15 Lake Legend (Wayne Hutchinson) – Novices’ Chase

14:50 Wild Desert (Choc) & China Gold (Wayne Hutchinson) - Handicap Hurdle

 

Confirmation in the Gloucestershire Press that Choc has been booked to ride Forpadydeplasterer in the King George VI Chase this coming Saturday.  More  But Sizing Europe misses the race.

 

There’s another news update on the condition of Monet’s Garden.

 

I had a late night last night – not getting to bed until gone 00:30 having spent my time watching through the recordings of Saturday’s racing from Sandown Park in preparation for my diary update.  I then searched through Monday’s tape to find Choc’s telephone interview with ATR’s Sean Boyce.  However, once asleep, I was ‘out for the count’ until morning!

 

Monday 10 January 2011

Choc rode at Taunton this afternoon, and it was a successful day: J

Dona won the Novices’ Hurdle, giving Choc his 17th winner of the season (14 ran).

Squadron finished 3rd in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (7 ran).

American Ladie finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 1 furlong) (15 ran).

Awesome Freddie won the Handicap Hurdle (3 miles and ½ a furlong), giving Choc his 18th winner of the current campaign (14 ran).

 

Meanwhile, at Towcester, Martin Keighley had 2 runners today:

King Ozzy (Richard Johnson) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Chase (4 ran); only two horses completed the course.

Golbelini (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 7th in the Maiden Hurdle (13 ran).

 

No rides for Choc tomorrow, which will enable him to be on ‘daddy duty’!

 

Google alerts has brought to my attention this article from the Gloucestershire press regarding baby William’s birth.  And there’s a photo too.  More

 

There’s news that Mille Chief might run in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton if his handicap mark becomes too high to make him competitive in the Totesport Trophy at Newbury. More

 

Choc has been speaking on At The Races about his high regard for Medermit ... and I wonder if the interview has been recorded on my video tape today?  I record the racing programmes from 11:00 onwards, so I must check.

 

There are a few imponderables regarding this Saturday’s King George VI Chase – I believe Choc will retain the ride aboard Forpadydeplasterer if, one, Riverside Theatre doesn’t defect and is ridden by Barry Geraghty (the number one choice of Forpady’s trainer) and two, the forecasted rain doesn’t affect the going too much so that the trainer withdraws Choc’s intended mount. More 

 

So if it eventually transpires that Choc has no ride in the King George VI Chase, in his Racing Post column today Choc eluded to the fact that he would probably divert to the Warwick fixture instead, where West End Rocker and Jetnova may run.  However, I have a contingency plan too ... I’m on holiday on Friday (yes, I’m still using up my 2010 annual leave) so I might go to Huntingdon and Kempton Park next weekend in order to see Choc at least once!

 

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Choc’s weekly column appeared today and here is the link to my précis of the content.

 

I’ve started writing my Sandown Park diary – having ‘topped’ and ‘tailed’ it, there are currently around 2,000 words!

Sunday 09 January 2011

It was a cold night with a hoar frost visible by morning.  I love days like this and, as I used to enjoy rambling in similar conditions, I decided to walk to my local Marks and Spencer superstore this morning, which took me around 50 minutes each way (although according to the map it’s around 3½ miles away and I didn’t think I walked that fast ... although my friends often accuse me of ‘route marching’!).   

 

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Taunton,  where he has 4 rides, all for Alan King:

13:45 Dona – Novices’ Hurdle

14:15 Squadron – Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase

15:15 American Ladie – Handicap Hurdle (2 miles 1 furlong)

16:15 Awesome Freddie – Handicap Hurdle (3 miles and ½ a furlong)

 

Meanwhile, Towcester has put on an additional fixture tomorrow and Martin Keighley has 2 runners scheduled at the meeting:

13:55 King Ozzy (Richard Johnson) – Novices’ Chase

15:25 Golbelini (Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

The weather forecasters are predicting a wet week ahead of next Saturday’s King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.  More  I really don’t understand why the BHA won’t reopen the entries for the race ... Nigel Twiston-Davies wanted to run Imperial Commander now that the horse has recovered from the injury picked up at Haydock earlier in the season.  And Nicky Henderson wanted to run Soldatino in the rescheduled Christmas Hurdle, but they won’t re-open entries for that race either.  

 

There’s a further news update on Monet’s Garden

 

I missed this news item – Ruby Walsh is expected to return next month.  More

 

An early start tomorrow – as I’ll be popping into the supermarket on the way to work to buy a copy of the Racing Post – I love Choc’s weekly column.

 

Meally’s latest Eclipse diary is also due to appear this week – and I can’t wait read more about the arrival of little William Robert.

 

And I’ve uploaded my photos from yesterday’s trip to Sandown Park – Part I and Part II

Saturday 08 January 2011

 

Sandown 8 Jan 11 blog pic.jpg

 

Choc and the McNeills (owners of Mille Chief) accept their winning prizes

 

 

As you can see from the photo, I had a change of heart regarding Sandown Park today!  I went to bed last night convinced that I wouldn’t be going to the races today, and it was only when I was watching Channel 4’s Morning Line that I suddenly thought ‘Good racing, fine weather, one of my favourite courses and the opportunity to see the adorable Choc ... what more could I want?’  So I showered, washed and dried my hair, put on my war paint, selected some warm clothing to wear and set off for Esher at 10:15.

 

And I had a ‘close encounter’ with my favourite jockey too J ... but more about that when I write my diary!

 

Today’s results from Sandown, where Choc had two rides for Alan King: 

Oh Crick finished 3rd in the 32Red Handicap Chase (9 ran).

Mille Chief won the 32Red Handicap Hurdle, giving Choc his 16th winner of the season (12 ran).

 

Meanwhile the runners of interest at Chepstow fared as follows:

Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 3rd in the Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) (8 ran).  However he did beat the talented Sam Winner and confirmed his beating of Dolatulo.

Old Benny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) was pulled up in the Coral Welsh National (18 ran).

Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 11th in the Maiden Hurdle (15 ran).

 

Alan King also had a runner at Wincanton:

Gold Reef (Peter Hatton) finished 2nd in the Handicap Hurdle (14 ran).

 

Here is the report from the Racing Post website regarding Mille Chief’s win today.

 

Also the detailed report regarding AP McCoy’s victory aboard Synchronised in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.

 

And there’s another progress report on Monet’s Garden too.

 

There’s no National Hunt racing in the UK tomorrow, Sedgefield having been abandoned.

 

Friday 07 January 2011

Snow showers returned today and Bangor was abandoned.  It’s been raining quite heavily for most of the day in Hertfordshire and there are concerns for tomorrow’s fixture at Sandown Park in Surrey, although it is reported that they’ve not had quite as much rain as here.  There will be a precautionary inspection at 07:30 in the morning.

 

Choc is due to ride at Sandown tomorrow, where he has two rides for Alan King: 

15:15 Oh Crick – Handicap Chase

15:45 Mille Chief – Handicap Hurdle

 

However, if the meeting is abandoned, Choc will divert to Chepstow where the Clerk of the Course is optimistic that the Welsh fixture will go ahead.  More

 

The runners of interest at Chepstow are as follows:

13:10 Smad Place (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)

13:35 Old Benny (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Coral Welsh National (Choc is too heavy to ride Old Benny as he carries a mere 10 stone)

14:50 Mickytaker (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Maiden Hurdle

 

Alan King also has a runner at Wincanton:

15:00 Gold Reef (Peter Hatton) – Handicap Hurdle

 

There’s an article about Mille Chief’s chances at Sandown Park tomorrow.  More

 

Here is the link to Wayne Hutchinson’s most recent blog on the Sporting Life website.  More

 

And the link to Martin Keighley’s weekly diary in the Gloucestershire Press too.

 

Unfortunately it is reported that popular grey Monet’s Garden does not seem to be responding to treatment.  More

 

And bad news for Noel Fehily, who won’t be fit in time to ride in this season’s Cheltenham Festival

 

As there are slight doubts about Sandown’s fixture and with Choc having two rides only tomorrow (although very good ones), I’m going to pass on a trip to the races and save myself for next Saturday’s re-scheduled King George fixture at Kempton Park.  Although, of course, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Choc will be there too.  The following Saturday I expect him to be at Haydock Park to ride Walkon in the Champion Hurdle Trial – which will rule out a trip to Ascot for me. 

Thursday 06 January 2011

Choc rode at Huntingdon this afternoon and this is how he fared:

Dhaafar (Alan King/Choc) finished 5th and Balerina (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 6th in the Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

High Benefit (Alan King/Choc) finished 10th in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Custer Of The West (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) finished 8th and Mister Chancer (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up in the Novices’ Hurdle (15 ran).

 

No Alan King runners tomorrow, however Choc has 2 riding engagements at Bangor, both for trainer Henry Daly:

13:20 Sandynow – Novices’ Chase

14:50 Playful Rose - Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 

Chepstow is optimistic that Saturday’s Welsh Grand National fixture will go ahead despite snow showers being expected early tomorrow morning; although Sandown Park are a little concerned for Saturday due to heavy rainfall at the track today with more forecast for tomorrow.  More

 

In hindsight, my possible trips to the races have been thwarted by abandonments on 7 occasions since the beginning of December – both days of the Tingle Creek Festival at Sandown; Huntingdon’s re-arranged Peterborough Chase Day on 12 December; both days of Ascot’s pre-Christmas meeting and both days of Kempton’s Winter Festival.  I will know if I have any racing plans this weekend when Saturday’s declarations are announced tomorrow lunchtime, and weather permitting of course! 

 

I don’t normally watch wildlife programmes, but I must recommend ‘The Bear Family and Me’ which was broadcast on BBC2 as 3 one hour programmes earlier this week and is currently available on BBC I-Player if you missed it.  

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00x9zhc/The_Bear_Family_and_Me_Autumn/

 

As it is Twelfth Night, today is your last chance to take down all your Christmas decorations if you’ve not done so already. 

Wednesday 05 January 2011

 

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Choc was at Southwell today and this is how he fared:

Management (Alan King) finished 4th in the NH Maiden Hurdle (10 ran).

Cool Steel (Alan King) finished 6th in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Choc is due to ride at Huntingdon tomorrow, where he has 3 riding engagements:

13:10 Dhaafar (Alan King/Choc) & Balerina (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) – Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle

14:10 High Benefit (Alan King/Choc) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

15:10 Custer Of The West (Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson) & Mister Chancer (Alan King/Choc) - Novices’ Hurdle

Erring on the side of caution, Huntingdon has called an inspection at 08:00 in the morning.  More

 

There’s no change in the condition of Monet’s Garden following yesterday’s worrying news.

 

Google Alerts has picked up this diet story from the Gloucestershire Press.  I have to confess that I don’t actually diet ... but, having put on a few pounds over the Christmas period, I think I should cut back on eating chocolate for the time being.  And, having not walked to work on a regular basis due to being on holiday over the Christmas period, I’m feeling a little sluggish at present – especially as when I was rambling regularly I would think nothing of walking 12 miles or so without a break ... although my joints would seize up immediately afterwards! 

 

Here is the link to the aforementioned jockey diet page on the Love the Races website.

 

Joe Tizzard writes a regular blog on the Eclipse website too, and in this week’s article he writes about the loss of Joe Lively who died at Cheltenham last Saturday.  More

 

And, finally, a Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday 04 January 2011

 

huntingdon 11 dec 08 12 red 2.jpg

 

Monet’s Garden on his way to winning the Peterborough Chase in 2008

 

There’s news today that the gallant and popular veteran Monet’s Garden has been retired due to a life threatening infection setting in following a foot injury.  The poor horse is still battling for his life and connections aren’t at all hopeful that he will pull through ... so sad if he doesn’t live to enjoy a happy retirement following many seasons of faithful service.  Choc is amongst those who have tweeted their good best wishes for the horse.  More

 

There’s far better news regarding Martin Keighley’s De Forgotten Man; also Rodrigo Gonzales and Sky Calling, but not so good news regarding Any Currency’s season:  http://www.martinkeighleyracing.com/Martins_blog.php

 

Today Choc was at Leicester, and this is how he fared:

Araldur (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (9 ran).

Swansbrook (Alan King) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (7 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc is due to ride at Southwell, where he has 2 engagements:

15:10 Management (Alan King) – NH Maiden Hurdle

15:40 Cool Steel (Alan King) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

The course is, however, subject to a precautionary inspection at 06:00 in the morning.

 

Some courses are still experiencing problems due to the weather – Ludlow having already abandoned their fixture scheduled for Thursday.

Monday 03 January 2011

Both Lingfield and Hereford passed early morning inspections and racing went ahead as hoped.

 

The results from Lingfield, where Choc had 2 rides, are as follows:

Raduis Bleu (Alan King) finished 2nd in the Novices’ Hurdle (10 ran).

Reefer Beefer (A G Newcombe) was pulled up in the Handicap Hurdle (5 ran).

 

Meanwhile, Alan King had one runner at Hereford:

Dineur (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the Standard Open NH Flat Race (10 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc is scheduled to ride at Leicester, where there is due to be a precautionary inspection at 08:30:

13:20 Araldur (Alan King) – Novices’ Hurdle

14:50 Swansbrook (Alan King) – Novices’ Chase

 

I hope you bought a copy of today’s Racing Post as, not surprisingly, the main topic of Choc’s column was the arrival of baby William Robert.  And there was a lovely photo of the very happy (but very tired) couple with their new born son (he’s very cute).  More

 

Confirmation that Alan King’s talented juvenile, Smad Place, may run in the Coral Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow next Saturday dependent on a satisfactory scope this week. 

 

Meanwhile two of Paul Nicholls’ talented hurdlers are due to run next Saturday - Toubab is entered to run in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, and Sam Winner has been entered for both the Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow and the Tolworth.  More

 

But there’s sad news that De Forgotten Man was injured when falling at Plumpton yesterday; however he was strapped up by the vets for the journey home and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that Martin Keighley will be able to give positive news following an x-ray.

 

Sunday 02 January 2011

Choc was at Plumpton today, where he had 3 riding engagements; Martin Keighley also had 2 runners at the fixture:

Norman The Great (Alan King/Choc) jumped well and finished 2nd and King Ozzy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 4th in the Novices’ Chase (5 ran).  However, both horses benefitted from the 2nd last fence departure of Giorgio Quercus (which translates as George Oak). 

Invictus (Alan King/Choc) finished 4th but unfortunately De Forgotten Man (Martin Keighley/Sam Twiston-Davies) fell 3 out when tiring in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (12 ran).

Quetzal (Alan King/Choc) was pulled up before 2 out in the Handicap Hurdle (12 ran).

 

Tomorrow Choc is due to be at Lingfield, where he has 2 scheduled rides; however there will be a precautionary early morning inspection:

13:45 Raduis Bleu (Alan King) – Novices’ Hurdle

15:50 Reefer Beefer (A G Newcombe) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Meanwhile, Alan King has one runner at Hereford:

16:00 Dineur (Wayne Hutchinson) – Standard Open NH Flat Race

 

There is a news update on Alan King’s website following yesterday’s Cheltenham fixture:

http://www.alankingracing.co.uk/news/news1.htm

 

And also a good write-up about yesterday’s action on the Sporting Life website.

 

Tomorrow being Monday, I’ll be popping out early to the supermarket to buy a copy of the Racing Post, as I very much look forward to reading Choc’s column every week.

 

I wonder if I will go racing next weekend.  Sandown Park is one of my nearest racecourses, but the fixture clashes with Wincanton and the re-scheduled Welsh Grand National meeting at Chepstow, so I’m certainly not counting on Choc being at the Esher course next Saturday.  However, Saturday 15 January is the date of the re-scheduled King George VI Chase at Kempton and I have already purchased a ticket to attend on that date.   

Saturday 01 January 2011

 

MC900444925[1]

 

 

A very good day for Choc at Cheltenham today, where he rode his first winner at the track since 14 November 2009.  Although, in the interim, he’s missed a number of days when he couldn’t ride at the course due to injury.  And the win wasn’t aboard the horse you might expect, but certainly one who deserved another ‘day in the sun’ after being such a good servant for many seasons.   

 

So without further ado, this is how my ‘runners of interest’ fared under the gloomy and damp skies at Cheltenham today:

 

Habbie Simpson (Alan King/Choc) finished 3rd and Total Submission (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) finished 8th in the Novices’ Hurdle, both horses running well (15 ran).  Sadly Lethal Glaze had to be put down having broken a leg when he fell at the second last flight. 

 

Karabak (Alan King/AP McCoy) finished 4th in the Class 2 Hurdle.  The star of this race was Oscar Whisky.

 

Blazing Bailey (Alan King/Choc) won the Handicap Chase by 11 lengths - Choc’s 15th winner of the season.  And it was fabulous to see this horse and jockey team win the race.  Il Duce (Alan King/Jimmy McCarthy) was pulled up in this event. (17 ran)

 

When asked about future targets for Blazing Bailey, Alan King said he would not be ‘comfortable’ in sending the horse to Aintree for the Grand National although, evidently, Choc has volunteered to ride him if he does!  Alan said he would speak with the owners about possible future targets, as he believes Blazing Bailey can definitely win a ‘decent’ long distance chase of some sort, but he is obviously very fond of this stable stalwart and wouldn’t wish to take any unnecessary risks with him.  Blazing Bailey

 

However, there was a very sad postscript to this third race on the card, when the popular veteran chaser Joe Lively had to be put down having broken a hind leg – it appeared to be a sad twist of fate, as it may have been caused when the horse in his slipstream fell.  Joe Lively

 

Medermit (Alan King/Choc) finished a ¾ length 2nd to .......... Hell’s Bay in the Dipper Novices’ Chase.  Yes, the ‘infamous’ Hell’s Bay who, having been sent to the sales following the Newton Abbot incident, has been doing a sterling job for his new yard - Bargain basement buy.  Hell’s Bay and Medermit finished 22 lengths ahead of the remainder of the field, so both look to have very promising chasing careers ahead of them – this event being run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs.

 

Choc has mentioned that he doesn’t hold anything against Hell’s Bay and, to prove a point, he patted the victorious horse on the neck as the first two pulled up at the top of the course.  And the win was a fillip for the Tizzard yard, Joe having been in tears following the loss of Joe Lively.

 

Having won the Peterborough Chase last month, Tartak followed up that success with victory in the feature Handicap Chase.

 

The Handicap Hurdle resulted in a David Pipe 1-2-3

 

Choc’s final ride of the day, Jojabean (Alan King) finished 11th in the Junior Standard Open NH Flat Race (16 ran).

 

Meanwhile, Alan King had a number of runners at Exeter (where no races were run on the chase course today) and this is how they fared:

Lariat Sam (Charlie Huxley) finished 11th and Lord Liath (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 2nd in the NH Novices’ Hurdle (16 ran).

Salden Licht (Wayne Hutchinson) won the Handicap Hurdle (11 ran).

Bardolf (Wayne Hutchinson) finished 4th in the Maiden NH Flat Race (14 ran).

 

Choc will be at Plumpton tomorrow, where he has 3 riding engagements; Martin Keighley also has 2 runners at the fixture:

13:05 Norman The Great (Alan King/Choc) & King Ozzy (Martin Keighley/Warren Marston) – Novices’ Chase

13:40 Invictus (Alan King/Choc) & De Forgotten Man (Martin Keighley/Sam Twiston-Davies) – NH Novices’ Hurdle

14:45 Quetzal (Alan King/Choc) – Handicap Hurdle

 

Here is the link to Martin Keighley’s column in the Gloucestershire press, reflecting on the past year.  More

 

I forgot to make special mention of the Richard Phillips trained Eastwell Smiles’ close-fought victory at Warwick yesterday – back in September the horse bolted at Uttoxeter and ended up stuck in a ditch, before being rescued by the emergency services.  More

 

With all the excitement of yesterday, I also forgot to mention Wayne Hutchinson’s most recent Sporting Life blog

 

And, finally, Choc has been tweeting on twitter!

 


 

 

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